Monday, 17 May 2010

The house of forgetting – 3

From Kastelimme heitä runsaasti kahvilla by Timo Harju

Come let’s build a home for old folk. Let’s build it from the crooks in fingers, lightly porous bellyaches, we  can take the armfuls of fir needles and bright cuckoo fluff up to the attic. Let’s make a lot of mossy rocking chairs, they can rock in them. Let’s collect gazes and make them into coffee cups, you old folk can paint the flowers of your lives on them, at the first lunch hour Martta is the first to announce that there’s too much porridge and she doesn’t eat anything. I go to reduce the portion. The porridge observes: "If you start to give in, everyone’s lives will soon be impossible here." The kitchen nods, swaying. Do the old folk need limits?
They’re not children. So are they able to set their own limits?
Far away you can see bundles of mist drifting into the watercolour.
Are the porridge rules security lights in the water?
The traffic lights are there to stop the cars from touching one another.
Will I affect her if I reduce this portion of porridge now?
You’ll get rid of her more quickly if you do what she asks.
Shall I reduce this portion of porridge or not?
Don’t ask me.
Should we educate old people?
You're right, old people can learn new things too.
Or should I just make this moment as easy as possible?
You're right, they don’t have much time left.
Huh? What do you want of me?
Don’t be afraid.

Collect the flour falling from old folk. Bake a skilled attendant.
The skilled attendant is direct and honest, frankly
says now I've had enough and could you please buzz off.
Stretch the dough. People work is open in the middle.
Fetch hundreds and thousands from the cupboard to fill his head.
Raise, roll, rotate, twist
press your hands on his heart.

translated from Finnish by David McDuff

See also in this blog: The house of forgetting
The house of forgetting – 2


Lev said...

That book must amazing! I'll read now all of your three posts!

David McDuff said...

Yes, it's an interesting collection, and probably unique in contemporary Finnish poetry. At times the poems remind me a bit of early Tranströmer, but they're also highly original.